The only reason I called this “Asian” salad is because I was replicating the most amazing salad I had at Asian Box in Macy’s SFO. Who’d have thought you could get fresh, tasty, gluten-free food in a department store basement food hall?!
You start your “box” with a base of rice, noodles or salad – I go with the brown rice or salad depending on jet-lag levels – then add protein* of your choice followed by steamed or wok-fired veggies. If that’s not enough there’s a whole pick ‘n mix of toppings like crispy shallots, fresh herbs, pickled veggies and chillies. As it’s all built in front of you, you can easily opt out of bits your don’t want.
STOP! We’re not quite finished yet! there’s still the 6 house made sauces to choose from! I normally have this as a treat so I’ll happily have a little sriracha sauce, even though it’s not sugar-free or soy-free, but they also have “Asian Street Dust” which is a mix of dry spices. Amaaazing! Perfect mix of fresh, crunchy, spicy and comforting. Even if your body clock doesn’t feel ready for dinner time, it looks light enough to not be off-putting and just the thing for blowing away the long-haul flight cobwebs. Plus, it’s not in a restaurant so no expectation for you to interact with people or tip 🙂
So, back to dreary Berkshire, UK. Here’s what I threw together:
- 2 tablespoons Coconut oil
- 1 x whole Poached chicken breast (about 2 cups)
- 1tsp Chinese 5 Spice
- 1tsp Fish Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Coconut aminos
- 1 x Yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into thin strips
- 2 handfuls Beansprouts (about 150g)
- Half a Cucumber, peeled into ribbons
- Hard boiled eggs, peeled and halved
- 25g Cashew nuts
- 4 x Shallots, finely sliced
- 1 x Red chilli, finely chopped (as mild or spicy as preferred)
- 2 x Spring onions, thin sliced
- Half a Lime, in wedges
- Sriracha sauce, shop bought or homemade
Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a wok or skillet. Tear the chicken into bite sized strips and fry in the oil until starting to brown and starting to get crispy strands. Add the 5 Spice, fish sauce and coconut aminos and stir well. You should get a slightly caramelised effect. Turn off heat, and set pan aside.
Assemble all the salad ingredients on a serving plate.
Now we work fairly quickly. Heat a small frying pan and dry roast the cashews until golden, then pour onto a chopping board to rough chop. Now heat the other 1 tablespoon coconut oil in the same pan and add the shallots. The natural sugars will start to caramelise and they’ll crisp up – keep them moving so they don’t burn. When you’ve achieved desired crispiness, remove from the pan and transfer to a piece of kitchen towel. They shouldn’t be massively greasy, but draining them prevents sogginess.
Serve up a portion of the chicken onto the salad, top with chilli and spring onions followed by a squeeze or two of sriracha and a spritz of lime. Sprinkle over the sweet and crispy shallots and the roasted cashews.
*I couldn’t find any allergy info on their website, so I can’t be sure what’s in the marinades but I didn’t have any adverse reaction.